Resistance to radical evil is the pinnacle of human existence.”—Chris Hedges
A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”—Christopher Reeve
There should be a word for when you commit treason against an entire planet.”—Bill McKibben, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
If you knew a threat to everything you care about — all the people and places and possessions that you love — was coming to destroy them, how hard would you fight to save them?”—Jim Thompson, Founder, THIS! Is What We Did
BP (British Petroleum) was the architect of the personal “carbon footprint,” an idea that may have done more to deflect responsibility away from the oil industry and disarm the public than any other single industry P.R. move.”—Emily Sanders, Journalist, EXXONKNEWS newsletter
There is something else also to life, the joy of struggle, that not enough people have tasted. The joy of community, and the joy of cooperation, instead of competition; these are the values that I want to perpetuate and talk about to young people.”—Frances Crowe, Peace Activist, 1919 – 2019
…people who pursue noble purposes are filled with joy, despite the constant sacrifices they feel called upon to make.”—William Damon, The Path to Purpose
…it turns out that about 3/4 of people in the whole U.S. don’t even hear somebody else talk about climate change more than once or twice a year. And if we don’t talk about it why would we care, if we don’t care why would we act? So action begins with conversation.”—Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist
It’s rather embarrassing to have given one’s entire life to pondering the human predicament and to find that in the end one has little more to say than, ‘Try to be a little kinder’.”—Aldous Huxley, Philosopher, 1894 — 1963
I thought we were in an argument, but we were in a fight…The science has been clear for 20 years. We’ve won the argument, now we have to figure out how to win the fight.”Bill McKibben, Writer & Climate Activist
There is a power that can be created out of pent-up indignation, courage, and the inspiration of a common cause, and that if enough people put their minds and bodies into that cause, they can win. It is a phenomenon recorded again and again in the history of popular movements against injustice all over the world.”― Howard Zinn, Historian, 1922 — 2010
Imagine the Angels of Bread—Martín Espada
Imagine the Angels of Bread
This is the year that squatters evict landlords,
gazing like admirals from the rail
of the roofdeck
or levitating hands in praise
of steam in the shower;
this is the year
that shawled refugees deport judges
who stare at the floor
and their swollen feet
as files are stamped
with their destination;
this is the year that police revolvers,
stove-hot, blister the fingers
of raging cops,
and nightsticks splinter
in their palms;
this is the year
that darkskinned men
lynched a century ago
return to sip coffee quietly
with the apologizing descendants
of their executioners.
This is the year that those
who swim the border’s undertow
and shiver in boxcars
are greeted with trumpets and drums
at the first railroad crossing
on the other side;
this is the year that the hands
pulling tomatoes from the vine
uproot the deed to the earth that sprouts the vine,
the hands canning tomatoes
are named in the will
that owns the bedlam of the cannery;
this is the year that the eyes
stinging from the poison that purifies toilets
awaken at last to the sight
of a rooster-loud hillside,
pilgrimage of immigrant birth;
this is the year that cockroaches
become extinct, that no doctor
finds a roach embedded
in the ear of an infant;
this is the year that the food stamps
of adolescent mothers
are auctioned like gold doubloons,
and no coin is given to buy machetes
for the next bouquet of severed heads
in coffee plantation country.
If the abolition of slave-manacles
began as a vision of hands without manacles,
then this is the year;
if the shutdown of extermination camps
began as imagination of a land
without barbed wire or the crematorium,
then this is the year;
if every rebellion begins with the idea
that conquerors on horseback
are not many-legged gods, that they too drown
if plunged in the river,
then this is the year.
So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.
Nearly one-third of the wild birds in the United States
and Canada have vanished since 1970, a staggering
loss that suggests the very fabric of North America’s
ecosystem is unraveling.
–The New York Times (September 19, 2019)
As the world’s cities teem
our concrete terrains with shouts
and signs—as the younglings balance
scribbled Earths above their heads,
stand in unseasonal rain
or blistering sun,
the birds quietly lessen
themselves among the grasslands.
No longer a chorus but a lonely,
indicating trill: Eastern meadowlark,
wood thrush, indigo bunting—
their voices ghosts in the
chemical landscape of crops.
Red-winged blackbirds veer
beyond the veil. Orioles
and swallows, the horned lark
and the jay. Color drains from
our common home so gradually,
we convince ourselves
it has always been gray.
Little hollow-boned dinosaurs,
you who survived the last extinction,
whose variety has obsessed
scientific minds, whose bodies
in the air compel our own bodies
to spread and yearn—
how we have failed you.
The grackles are right to scold us,
as they feast on our garbage
and genetically-modified corn.
Our children flock into the streets
with voices raised, their anger
a grim substitute
When Lynne saw the lizard floating
in her mother-in-law’s swimming pool,
she jumped in. And when it wasn’t
breathing, its body limp as a baby
drunk on milk, she laid it on her palm
and pressed one fingertip to its silky breast
with just about the force you need
to test the ripeness of a peach, only quicker,
a brisk little push with a bit of spring in it.
Then she knelt, dripping wet in her Doc Martens
and camo T-shirt with the neck ripped out,
and bent her face to the lizard’s face,
her big plush lips to the small stiff jaw
that she’d pried apart with her opposable thumb,
and she blew a tiny puff into the lizard’s lungs.
The sun glared against the turquoise water.
What did it matter if she saved one lizard?
One lizard more or less in the world?
But she bestowed the kiss of life,
again and again, until
the lizard’s wrinkled lids peeled back,
its muscles roused its own first breath
and she set it on the hot cement,
where it rested a moment
before darting off.
Show Me an Old Rebel—Caitlin Johnstone
Show Me An Old Rebel*
Do not show me a young rebel,
whose eyes are bright
and whose tail is bushy.
Young rebels are fine and good,
but they are merely doing
what the young are meant to do.
Show me an old rebel.
One who keeps punching
when his hands are arthritic,
when her hair is white,
when his friends are all dead,
when her knees are shot,
when it hurts him to pee,
when her shoulders are so bad
that it would be much easier to punch down
than to punch up.
Show me an old rebel
who keeps standing up after being knocked down
over and over again,
year after year,
decade after decade,
who after the thousandth blow
merely spits out a tooth
and says “Son, you have no idea what you’re dealing with,
Are you a young rebel?
Are you Sticking it to The Man?
Are you upsetting the gray brainiacs
and knocking over their word castles?
That is fine.
Youth will youth.
But show me a young rebel
who became an old rebel,
who stuck with it through the setbacks
and the beatings and betrayals,
who watched the hippies become yuppies
and the protesters become pundits
and still kept a fire lit
amid the monsoons of infiltration
and the hurricanes of heartbreak.
Who will close their tired eyes for a final time
without ever once having cast them to the ground
or peered up in imploring subordination.
That, my friends,
that is a true spirit.
If you are still a fiery rebel
even as everything is ripped away from you,
I will be humbled and awed by you,
because I will know that you will carry that with you to the grave.
And I will know that whatever you find on the other side
will be met
with that same defiant glare.
And I will sing your song when you are gone.
*Copyright Caitlin Johnstone, used with permission, all rights reserved.
The Others Are Waiting—Emily Johnston
The Others Are Waiting*
What could we have done differently, once we understood?
Let us not mince words: a great deal.
How many millions of species, then, would not have disappeared?
Those who felt paralyzed by how hopeless it was — they forgot
about these ones, I think. Like turning your head from a
There are many, no doubt, too deep inside to be saved.
The others are waiting. Smash the windows, jimmy the doors!
*Copyright Emily Johnston, used with permission, all rights reserved. Her Animals Hummingbird Press